How to Have a Healthy Pregnancy After Infertility

 Women who have experienced infertility have a higher risk for some pregnancy complications. For example, women who struggled to conceive are at a higher risk for premature labor. This is true even if they aren't carrying twins.

Speaking of twins, because fertility drugs increase your odds of getting pregnant with multiples, some women after infertility are expecting twins and even triplets. This also comes with risks to you and your babies.

Is there anything you can do to increase your chances of a healthy pregnancy?


While it's impossible to eliminate all the risks—even a "perfect patient" making the healthiest choices isn't immune to pregnancy troubles—there are steps you can take to reduce the potential or severity of some pregnancy complications.

You've worked hard to get pregnant! Here are 10 tips to help you have a healthier pregnancy.


Choose an Excellent Doctor

Doctor and pregnant woman looking at digital tablet
A good doctor can help you have a healthier pregnancy after infertility. Hero Images / Getty Images

After fertility treatment, women return to their gynecologist/obstetrician for pregnancy.

However, if you've conceived twins or more, your former doctor may not be the best choice for you.

You may not need a high-risk doctor, but it's still best to choose someone who is experienced with multiple pregnancies.

Interview a few care providers before making a choice. Be sure to ask your fertility doctor or fertility support group for references.

If you need a high-risk doctor, either for complications or a high order pregnancy, then it's even more important to choose someone experienced with either your particular complication or with high-order multiples.

Questions you'll want to ask include...

  • What's your opinion on prenatal care?
  • What are my birthing options? (Will they allow you to try for a vaginal birth, or insist on going straight to a C-section no matter what the babies' positions are?)
  • What kind of outcomes have you seen in a pregnancy like mine?

Schedule Your Prenatal Wellness Appointments

Doctor with digital tablet talking to pregnant patient in examination room
Prenatal care appointments may seem simple and quick, but these check-ups can catch a problem before it becomes serious. Caiaimage/Agnieszka Wozniak / Getty Images

Prenatal care may seem unnecessary—do you really need to pee in a cup and have a nurse weigh you every so many weeks? Are all these quick checks important?

In fact, they are.

Some pregnancy complications do not come with recognizable symptoms until things are getting severe or out of control.

For example, if you have pregnancy-induced hypertension (high blood pressure), you will probably feel no different than any other day. If you have high blood pressure and protein in your urine, these can be serious symptoms pointing to preeclampsia. You may not develop more noticeable symptoms, like sudden weight gain or a severe headache, until the condition has progressed.

Ultrasounds are more important when carrying multiples.

Some ultrasounds during a twin pregnancy must take place within a particular time frame to detect specific risk factors. Missing that time frame may make it difficult to monitor your pregnancy.

Be sure to get your prenatal check-ups and schedule important ultrasounds and tests in a timely manner.


Drop Unhealthy Habits

Pregnant woman with yoga mat tying shoe
Specialized prenatal exercise classes can be a good way to get moving when you're pregnant, especially if you weren't active before you conceived. Hero Images / Getty Images

Unhealthy habits are best dropped from any pregnancy. During a pregnancy after infertility or a twin pregnancy, it's even more important.

Some unhealthy habits to drop are no-brainers. If you're smoking, you need to quit. If you're drinking, you must stop. If you're taking any recreational drugs, time to give that up too.

If you need help dropping these addictions, speak to your doctor or a free clinic for support. You don't have to do this alone.

Whatever you do, don't keep it a secret out of shame. Some pregnancy complications can be worsened or caused by drugs, smoking, or drinking. Your doctor needs to know so he can monitor the pregnancy more closely.

Some unhealthy habits are less obvious, but also important to drop.

Do you binge on sweets and treats? Try to limit your desserts and snack on nuts, fruits, veggies, and protein.

Do you stay up late? Do your best to turn in earlier and get more hours in bed.


Make Time to Rest

Pregnant woman sleeping on sofa
You're sleeping for two now! Go ahead and take a nap when you need one. Hero Images / Getty Images

Getting enough sleep is important during pregnancy, and even more so during a twin pregnancy.

In fact, women who don't get enough sleep are at a higher risk for preterm birth.

Sometimes, pregnancy is the reason for poor sleep—discomfort, nausea, or worrying can lead to tossing and turning at night.

Invest in lots of pillows for support. Try to eat a small snack before bed to help with nausea.

And if worrying keeps you up at night, try therapy or confiding in a close friend about your concerns.

Don't forget to nap!

Naps aren't only for toddlers, but also adults—especially pregnant ones! If you work in an office, try to use your lunch break to take a little rest.

Even if all you can do is put your head down on your desk for a half hour, it's better than nothing.


Pay Attention to Nutrition

Pregnant woman choosing between apple and chips
An occasional treat is fine, just be sure that most of your food choices are healthy ones. Jamie Grill / Getty Images

Good nutrition has been connected to healthier pregnancies, including healthier multiple pregnancies.

You don't just need to eat right, but also, you must be sure to eat enough.

If you're carrying twins or more, you need more protein and calories. Speak to your doctor about how much to aim for each day.

There's an excellent book on multiple pregnancy and nutrition: "When You're Expecting Twins, Triplets, or Quads," by Dr. Barbra Luke and Tamara Eberlein

With the babies pushing up and allowing less room for a full stomach, women pregnant with twins may have trouble eating much at one meal.

If this is a problem, try spacing out your meals, or eating six or eight meals instead of three large ones. If you're having trouble fitting in calories, speak to your doctor.

You also need to take your prenatal vitamins.

If they make you nauseous, take them right in the middle of one of your bigger meals. And if they still make you sick, ask your doctor if you can take a chewable children's vitamin instead, which will be easier on your stomach.


Stay Hydrated and Drink Enough Water

Studio shot of drinks with lemon, lime and orange
Adding fruit to your water can make it tastier and encourage you to drink more. Jamie Grill / Getty Images

Dehydration can cause contractions, which may lead to premature labor.

This is true for those pregnant with one baby, but with the risk for premature labor being higher with multiples, this is an even greater threat for mothers of multiples.

Drinking enough when you're carrying two or more babies isn't always easy.

One of the best ways to remember to drink is to have a water bottle you carry with you everywhere you go, even when you're at home or at your desk.

The presence of the water bottle will help you remember to drink when you get busy with other things.

If you're expecting in the summertime, it's even more important to get your water. Speak to your doctor about how much water you should be drinking.


Talk to Your Doctor About Sexual Activity

Pregnant woman laying on bed, husband's head resting on her with hand on her abdomen
Pregnancy can be a time to renew passion, but it's also normal to be fearful of sex during pregnancy after infertility. Talk to your doctor if you're concerned. Photo: Tricia Shay Photography / Photographer's Choice RF

Once you're pregnant after months or years of trying to conceive, sex can become less of a chore and more of a fun activity—unless you're told not to have any.

Some couples aren't told to abstain from sex but do so because they are afraid of causing a miscarriage or triggering premature labor.

This is an understandable anxiety, especially if you've lost pregnancies.

Speak to your doctor about these concerns, as you may be avoiding sex without reason.

Most of the time, even after infertility, sex is safe during pregnancy.

In rare cases, sexual activity can trigger contractions or bleeding. This may occur due to intercourse, orgasm, or both.

Your doctor may ask you to decrease or completely abstain from sex as a precaution if you have worrisome symptoms.

If your doctor has told you that sex is a no-no for you, ask for more details. Is just intercourse not allowed? What about other forms of sex? Is orgasm without penetration okay?

As the pregnancy progresses, be sure to ask about sex again.

Your doctor may forget about her advice from a few months before. She may have different recommendations, especially as you begin your second trimester or as your due date approaches.


Visit Your Dental Hygienist

Modern dental office
Avoid X-rays, but be sure to get cleanings when you're expecting. Musketeer / Getty Images

You may want to schedule an extra teeth cleaning during your pregnancy. Of course, you'll need to forgo the X-rays. But regular cleanings are not only safe but encouraged when you're expecting.

Some studies have found that gum disease may increase the risk of premature labor and low birth weight babies.

Also, pregnancy hormones are known to cause sensitive gums and bleeding. Vomiting from morning sickness can also be harsh on your teeth. More reasons to sit in the dentist's chair during pregnancy!

Not all studies have found this correlation, so the connection between oral health and premature labor is still up for debate. However, since getting your teeth cleaned is considered safe during pregnancy, and it might help, it's worth a try.


Get Support for Depression or Anxiety

Pregnant woman lying in bed
Depression during and after pregnancy is more common in women who have struggled to conceive. Don't be afraid to ask for help. Lane Oatey / Blue Jean Images / Getty Images

Depression during pregnancy may increase your risk of premature labor. Some studies have found that women who suffered from antenatal depression (that's depression during pregnancy) were twice as likely to experience a premature birth.

Depression is also rather common during pregnancy, with 14 to 23 percent of women experiencing it.

Your risk for postpartum depression is also higher if you experience depression during pregnancy. Having experienced infertility also increases your risk of pregnancy and postpartum depression.

If you think you may be depressed, speak to your doctor about possible resources. Therapy or support groups are helpful for many people, but if the depression is severe, you may need to take medication in addition to counseling.

Interestingly, anxiety does not seem to be correlated with premature birth. However, it's still worth seeking counseling, if for no other reason than to feel more at peace.


Know the Signs and Symptoms of Premature Labor

Balancing her work and wellness
If you're having worrisome symptoms, call your doctor. It's better to call and discover all is well, than ignore signs that could indicate a serious problem. pixdeluxe / Getty Images

Premature labor can sometimes be stopped if you take action quickly. Knowing the signs and symptoms of premature labor is essential.

Possible signs and symptoms include:

  • Regular or frequent contractions -- which cause a tightening sensation in the abdomen
  • Constant dull, low backache
  • A feeling of pressure in your pelvis or lower abdomen
  • Cramps like you might get before your period
  • Diarrhea
  • Vaginal spotting or bleeding
  • A rush of watery discharge (​it may be your water breaking)

Many of these symptoms can be confused with normal pregnancy complaints. If you're concerned, remember that it's better to call your doctor than ignore the symptoms and discover you were experiencing preterm labor.

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Article Sources
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  1. Mayo Clinic, "Preterm Labor"

  2. Mayo Clinic, "Twin Pregnancy: What Multiples Mean for Mom"

  3. Okun ML, Schetter CD, Glynn LM. "Poor sleep quality is associated with preterm birth." Sleep. 2011 Nov 1;34(11):1493-8. DOI:


  4. Corbella S, Taschieri S, Francetti L, De Siena F, Del Fabbro M. "Periodontal disease as a risk factor for adverse pregnancy outcomes: a systematic review and meta-analysis of case-control studies." Odontology. 2011 Jul 8. DOI:


  5. Dayan J, Creveuil C, Marks MN, Conroy S, Herlicoviez M, Dreyfus M, Tordjman S. "Prenatal depression, prenatal anxiety, and spontaneous preterm birth: a prospective cohort study among women with early and regular care." Psychosom Med. 2006 Nov-Dec;68(6):938-46. Epub 2006 Nov 1. DOI:


Additional Reading
  • Goodnight W, Newman R; Society of Maternal-Fetal Medicine. "Optimal nutrition for improved twin pregnancy outcome." Obstet Gynecol. 2009 Nov;114(5):1121-34.

  • Institute of Medicine (US) Committee on Understanding Premature Birth and Assuring Healthy Outcomes; Behrman RE, Butler AS, editors. Preterm Birth: Causes, Consequences, and Prevention. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 2007. Recommendations. Available from: